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Alliance for Community Trees Day

November 6, 2018

Presented by: The Arbor Day Foundation

Event Information

Trees create community. Trees inspire us to work together to change our towns and cities for the better. Trees change the look and feel of where we live, work and play. Trees make a difference. Alliance for Community Trees members have spent 25 years planting and caring for trees and end up changing the landscape of our community habitat. This year’s premiere one day event will include talks from members and others who are sharing lessons on how to create community through programs, projects, and development of your organization. As always, you will be inspired by your peers and urban forestry leaders with some surprises thrown in for fun. And of course, there will be plenty of time for networking and sharing during lunches and breaks! Join us as we celebrate the future of Alliance for Community Trees!

This meeting offers:

  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Networking
  • Educational sessions

Registration Fees

$135 for members

$235 for non-members

Register Now


date November 6, 2018

  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:00–8:25 a.m. Welcome
  • 8:30–9:00 a.m. Your Trees, Your Community, Your Legacy

    As a long time arborist, business owner, and connector, Rose will encourage you to think about what you are leaving behind in the work that you do. What is your legacy? What is your organization's legacy? What are you leaving to your community? Rose will kick off our day with inspirational food for thought!

    Rose Epperson, Epicenter Management
    Rose Epperson is a certified arborist with over 35 years’ experience in the tree care industry. She is a principal in West Coast Arborists, Inc. and a past president of the Western Chapter of ISA. Rose holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Argosy University. In an effort to bring industry associations together, Rose created Epicenter Management in 2005. Her company manages several industry associations including the Western Chapter ISA, Street Tree Seminar, Professional Tree Care Association and the Society of Commercial Arboriculture. In 2005, Rose earned her Certification as an Association Executive from the American Society of Association Executives. In 2006, she incorporated the Western Chapter’s John Britton Memorial Fund into a 501-c3 focused on research and education within the communities served by the Chapter known as The Britton Fund. Rose is active with ISA, California Urban Forest Council and is a past-President of California Releaf. Rose put her money where her mouth is in 2012 when she joined growing group of tree care professionals who have dedicated their legacy to trees by becoming a member of the TREE Fund's Heritage Oak Society. Through the years, Rose has been recognized for her work receiving the Award of Merit, President’s Award and Honorary Life Membership from Western Chapter ISA. In 2018 Rose was recognized by the Huntley School of Agriculture for her contribution to industry as a recipient of the Jim Hicks Award. Rose splits her time between a small farm near the south end of Sequoia National Forest and right here in Irvine. She lives and breathes TREES.
  • 9:00–10:00 a.m. Who You Should Know in Your Community

    Welcome to Southern California! While there are many great presenters sharing their stories over the course of the conference, we want to make sure that you get a chance to meet a few people doing really amazing work in the Los Angeles area. These people will inspire you! Our goal is to share the work of several persons who may not always be in the spotlight but they are contributing in meaningful ways to the tree work in the region and have a wealth of experience to share in their respective fields. Our hope is that by meeting these special people, you will be encouraged to think about who in your community can support the cause of trees.

    Rachel Malarich, KYCC
    Rachel Malarich is the Environmental Services Manager for Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC). She has been working in urban forestry in the Los Angeles area for more than a decade, focused on serving and increasing tree canopy in high need communities. She engages deeply on urban forestry policy issues facing the area, particularly through the City of Los Angeles' Community Forestry Advisory Committee. Rachel is also a Street Tree Seminar Board Member, an ISA Certified Arborist and the former Director of Forestry for TreePeople.
  • 10:05–10:30 a.m. Creating a Community That Supports Your Mission

    Cities are changing and growing at a rapid pace. Our urban forests will need much more from our organizations in the future. We have all created fantastic tree planting programs throughout America, but it is a critical time to up our game to do even more. By diversifying programs and developing innovative partnerships, we can create better communities. Trees Atlanta will share how they are expanding to meet the needs of their community.

    Greg Levine and Connie Veates, Trees Atlanta
    Greg Levine is Trees Atlanta’s Co-Executive Director and Chief Program Officer. Greg has been with the organization for over 22 years and is responsible for all programming that supports the mission of Trees Atlanta. Under his leadership Trees Atlanta has forged a strong partnership with the Atlanta BeltLine and is in the process of planting the BeltLine Arboretum. Additionally, he oversees neighborhood and city plantings, forest restoration, advocacy, and the urban forestry crew.

    Greg has a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and is an ISA Certified Arborist.

    Connie Veates is Trees Atlanta’s Co-Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. She has a long history with the organization having served on the board for 10 years; 5 of which she was President. Under her leadership, Trees Atlanta successfully completed a capital campaign which resulted in the building of their facility – one of the few Platinum LEED certified buildings in Georgia. In her current role Connie is responsible for development, finance, marketing, education, communications, human resources and special events.

    Prior to coming to Trees Atlanta, she was a long-tenured executive with BellSouth and AT&T. Connie holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University.
  • 10:30–11:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:00 a.m.–11:25 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
    • Sink or Swim: Mission Sustainability in a Post-Disaster Environment

      Trees for Houston has faced numerous weather-related events over the last few years. From extreme drought to Hurricane Harvey, Mother Nature has thrown Houston some challenges. So how has Trees for Houston responded? Are they prepared? Have they changed their approach to messaging and their activities, and how did these weather events influence their opportunities for meaningful growth? Learn how the Trees for Houston team works to use drought and flood to make their programs and organization stronger.

      Barry Ward, Trees for Houston
      Barry Ward is the Executive Director of Trees for Houston, a tree planting and tree care orgianzation founded in Houston in 1983. Barry considers himself a career non-profit professional, with experience and/or training in curatorial work, archival management, fundraising and executive leadership having worked professionally within the contexts of museums, fine arts, public history, archaeology, cultural and environmental conservation, writing, and consulting, among others. He is always seeking ways to better leverage existing resources and improve organizational efficiency and fiscal independence.

    • Perfect Partners: When Nonprofit Mergers Work

      This presentation will share the story of Worcester Tree Initiative (WTI), created as a temporary replanting agency, and how it has now merged with Tower Hill Botanic Garden in a perfectly reciprocal partnership. We will explore the search for a partner that adds depth to a program's mission and marketing the value of a grassroots community agency. Lastly, we will explore how this merger helped WTI build their capacity.

      Ruth Seward, Worcester Tree Initiative
      Ruth Seward has been with Worcester Tree Initiative since March 2010. She has developed many of the agencies programs including the schools planting and education program, the Master Tree Stewards Program and the 'Stewards in the Streets' tree pruning program. Ruth has been Executive Director of WTI since January 2015 and has recently merged this program with Tower Hill Botanic Garden for a perfect partnership.
  • 11:30–11:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
    • The Carbon Neutrality Challenge: A Native Reforestation Project for Honolulu, HI

      Climate change and its associated impacts is arguably the greatest threat facing many locations around the world. Some specific issues that need to be addressed for meaningful mitigation efforts include such problems as Urban Heat islands, Stormwater Runoff and Deforestation and Increased Carbon released into the atmosphere. Through a partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and The Outdoor Circle, the “Carbon Neutrality Challenge” uses a combination of environmental education and the planting of native trees in order to increase awareness of the effects of climate change in Hawaii and provide a way to take action in reducing one’s footprint through direct reforestation efforts. Initially started to educate students from the 3rd grade to seniors in university through uniquely tailored classroom sessions, the program has gathered enough support from the general public to open up the “Carbon Neutrality Challenge” to all those interested in trying to make a difference in Hawaii by reducing their carbon footprint through lifestyle changes and sequestering carbon through the planting of trees.

      Myles Ritchie, Hawaii Outdoor Circle
      Originally from Toronto, Canada, Myles has lived in Hawaii since 2009. As the Programs Director for The Outdoor Circle, Myles is responsible for innovative project creation, design, and implementation, as well as managing the various people who power these projects. One of the main projects he is currently working on involves The Outdoor Circle's “Exceptional Tree Map” which has required him to visit nearly all of the 1,000 exceptional trees statewide, gather their metrics and from this data, calculate their environmental and monetary benefits. In addition, Myles is also working with various organizations on the first “Citizen Forester” program in Hawaii, with the end goal of a complete street tree map of all of Oahu. Through a partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and The Outdoor Circle, Myles is helping to reforest parts of Oahu, HI with native trees through the implementation of the “Carbon Neutrality Challenge”.

    • The Mayor's Greening Initiative

      Each spring and fall Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, a park loving and tree planting non-profit in Michigan, mobilizes volunteers to plant and nurture trees and green spaces in the City of Grand Rapids. Utilizing examples and success stories of past years we will walk through details of our Mayor's Greening Initiative, goals of the program, and reasons why it has become a leading success in the community.

      Maggie Harthoorn, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
      Maggie Harthoorn is a recent graduate of the Community and Regional Planning Master's Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Horticulture and a Bachelor's degree from Iowa State University in Forestry with a Minor in Spanish. She was most recently employed by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Project Assistant. Her other past experiences include internships with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, StarTran Public Transportation, Iowa DOT Wetland Mitigation Section, Iowa State University (undergraduate research), and Davey Resource Group. Maggie's areas of expertise include knowledge and skill in planning and caring for the urban forest, leadership and training, public engagement, and technical skills in Microsoft Office, GIS, Salesforce, Adobe Suites, and other related software.

      As a lifelong student and outdoors enthusiast, Maggie's passions include cycling, hiking, gardening, meeting new people, and exploring new environments whenever there is an opportunity. Maggie is passionate about growing communities in their excitement and capacity to care for the urban canopy and looks forward to her new role as the Urban Forest Coordinator for Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.
  • 11:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
    • Shifting Community Perception of Healthy Riparian Forest on Private Land

      How does a nonprofit encourage a community to fundamentally change their land management practices in the wake of a natural disaster? TreeFolks will discuss best practices for educating landowners using their project "Trees for the Blanco" as a case study. This presentation will address engaging cultural shift and impact, communication of "riparian" language, and creating resiliancy in the wake of natural disasters.

      Andreina Alexatos, Tree Folks
      Andreina (Ina) Alexatos was born in Venezuela and has spent the greater part of her life in Texas. In 2014 she completed a Masters degree in Applied Geography from Texas State University with a focus on Resource and Environmental Studies. Her passions include ecology and healthy ecosystem functioning, particularly that of river and ocean networks. With hope to do her part in closing the loop between resource extraction and disposal, Andreina spends most of her time learning about or actively participating in improving environmental processes (including restoration or conservation efforts, sustainable food production, and proper waste management).

    • Time for School: A New Program to Engage Youth in Tree Education

      Get an inside look at an actively developing program that aims to inspire the next generation of tree stewards by bringing meaningful experiences with trees to K-12 students, both inside and outside of the classroom. This national program will encourage schools and educators to create opportunities that allow students to connect with the global and local benefits of trees and will provide schools with resources, collaboration opportunities, and a framework for achieving recognition and celebrating with their community. Learn how your organization can leverage this program as a vehicle to connect with local schools, advance your own youth programming, and further your mission.

      Logan Donahoo and Matthew St. Germain, Arbor Day Foundation
      Logan is a Business Innovation Analyst at the Arbor Day Foundation, where her role is to identify and vet potential new ventures and programs that further the Foundation’s mission, taking winning concepts from idea to implementation. She is excited to see the K-12 recognition program through to its launch. Logan began her educational career in science with a B.S. in Meteorology-Climatology and recently earned an MBA in Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. Before joining the Arbor Day Foundation, she spent seven years designing market research on behalf of healthcare enterprises.
  • 12:00–1:15 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:15–2:45 p.m. Community Engagement as if Your Nonprofit Depended on it (Talk and Workshop)

    Where are we going? How do we get unstuck? If we get a big donation, do we automatically take it even if there are possible strings that are attached to it? These are the types of questions that non-profit organizations often need to ask themselves. In order to not just survive, but to thrive, non-profit tree planting organizations must be opportunistic, nimble, and most importantly, they must be strategic. Many organizations undertake a strategic planning process (mission, vision, goals, objectives, etc.) without realizing that to have a true impact, they must think strategically as well. This presentation will be interactive and fun as we explore how organizations can both think and plan strategically to advance their missions, build capacity, and make trees not more important, but more integral to life in our communities.

    Paul Ries
    Paul D. Ries, Ed.D., is the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Urban Forestry Program at Oregon State University, where he teaches online courses in urban forestry and arboriculture. He is also the principal consultant for Insightful Nature LLC, a natural resources consulting, communications, and training company. Paul holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Natural Resources and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He has over 30 years of experience in the natural resources and urban forestry fields, working at the state, local, non-profit, and academic levels, including 25 years as a non-profit Board or Staff member for organizations related to trees. Previously he served as the Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager for the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, as the Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ISA, and as an Urban Forester for the City of Cincinnati Ohio. He also holds a National Type 1 level qualification as a Public Information Officer for wildfire incidents. He served as President of the International Society of Arboriculture during 2017-18. Beyond his passion for trees and helping people, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his grandchildren.
  • 2:45–3:15 p.m. Break
  • 3:15–5:00 p.m. Special Event
  • 5:00–5:15 p.m. Closing